We’ve seen (and reviewed) our share of smart glasses around these parts. It’s an industry that’s hellbent on putting technology right within the field of vision of the user—this Catch 22 sort of promise about keeping you more engaged in your surroundings while actually placing notifications and apps right in front of your face. Nevertheless, consumer interest in smart glasses is clearly starting to take off. And there may be no better example of that very fact than Norm smart glasses from Human Capable Inc.
Introduced earlier this year, Norm promises to be the most natural looking pair of smart glasses out there that still provide a full range of features—including the ability to shoot photos and video—without the need to have your phone in your hand. Human Capable launched a Kickstarter campaign with a soft goal of raising $15,000 for their glasses within the 30-day campaign limit.
And they crushed that figure in a matter of hours.
As of this posting (around 3 p.m. Eastern Time Tuesday afternoon), the campaign had raised just over $112,000—roughly 740 percent funded. In it’s Kickstarter campaign, Human Capable states that it plans to use the funding raised through the site to order the electronic and optical components needed to manufacture the glasses in large quantities and at volume discounts. That would enable the company to manufacture the smart glasses at a reduced cost, thus potentially lowering the cost of the glasses themselves once they’re ready for launch.
According to the Kickstart page, Norm glasses currently have an expected manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $449.
Looking at the images and videos provided in the Kickstarter page, the Norm glasses look to be a really promising prospect in the augmented reality smart glasses space. Granted, these are in-house marketing materials, everything the company is touting would position Norm as one of the most affordable and feature-rich smart glasses on the market.
First and foremost, they look natural. The frames themselves appear to be standard sunglass-style frames. And the lenses, when the product ships, will come in a number of different styles including tinted, transition, polarized, and clear—all available with or without a prescription. Baked into the glasses is an internal CPU, storage, an all-day battery, a microphone, speakers, a camera, and a heads-up display. That’s a lot of tech, and from the available shots, it’s all incorporated into the glasses without sacrificing a sleek design.
What’s difficult to look at and figure out from the images is how the display will work. The marketing photos resemble those we’ve seen in North’s materials for the Focals glasses. While those smart frames use a projection system, it’s unclear if Norm has a similar projector for its display or if there’s some other heads-up display implementation.
Interacting with the glasses is done in one of four ways, according to Human Capable: with your voice, through a touch panel near the temple, in the companion app for your phone, and with head gestures. With those actions, the wearer can do a whole host of on-device things, including make and receive calls, take 8MP pictures and record 1080p HD video, live stream video, scan QR codes and barcodes, access their voice assistant, listen to and control their music, receive turn-by-turn navigation, read and send emails, watch videos, get real-time text translations and more. The Norm glasses run on an Android-based operating system, and as such the company expects developers to be able to quickly expand the number of apps and integrations with their smart glasses over time.
Human Capable Inc. expects to begin shipping the first batch of completed Norm smart glasses to backers in December with all orders ready to be filled by March 2020.